Culture is an essential part of a vibrant city.
In order for the arts to flourish, a city should have spaces where the creative class can produce and present their work.
It’s in this spirit that changes are being proposed to the development bylaws for two Vancouver condo projects.
If approved by council, arts and culture indoor events will be allowed as permitted uses at these developments, which have yet to be completed.
One is a whole city block project by Aquilini Development at 1837-1937 Main Street, 170-180 East 2nd Avenue, and 177-196 East 3rd Avenue.
The second is known as the Tate on Howe by the Hong Kong-based Bonds Group of Companies at 1299 Howe Street and 835 Drake Street.
The rezoning applications for the two projects were approved between 2013 and 2015.
The developments include what is called as “secured cultural amenity space” where artists can live and produce.
The spaces are to be turned over to the City of Vancouver as part of the rezoning.
The bylaw changes were proposed in a report by Karen Hoese, acting assistant director for downtown of the city’s planning, urban design, and sustainability department.
Hoese recalled that the city in 2015 amended its zoning and development bylaw to include a definition of an arts and culture indoor event.
According to the city planner, it is an event that includes “but not limited to visual, performing, media, literary, craft or interdisciplinary arts, for a maximum of 250 persons, which occurs not more than three days per month in a building”.
Hoese explained that the inclusion of these events in comprehensive developments like the two projects on Main and Howe streets “aligns” with city policies related to arts, culture, and community services.
“These include the retention, enhancement and development of affordable, sustainable cultural spaces in Vancouver, including presentation and shared artist studio production spaces; and the reduction of regulatory barriers and streamlining of regulatory processes for arts and cultural spaces for occasional events,” Hoese wrote in the report.
Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed bylaw changes on April 2, 2019.